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 India National Cricket Team

Sri Lanka Cricket Team: History, Honors and Statistics


The Sri Lanka men's national cricket team represents Sri Lanka in international cricket. Nicknamed The Lions, the team first played international cricket (as Ceylon) in 1926–27 and was awarded Test status in 1981. It made Sri Lanka the 8th Test-playing nation.

The team has achieved considerable success since the1990s, rising from the underdog status to winning the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1996. Since then, Sri Lanka has continued to be a force in international cricket. The Sri Lankan cricket team currently holds several records, including the world record for the highest score in Test cricket.

As of February 2021, the Sri Lanka team is ranked 7th in Test cricket, 8th in ODIs and 7th in T20Is. The current captain of the team for Test and ODIs is Dimuth Kurunaratne and the T20I captain is Dusun Shanaka.

Timeline

Early Years

Cricket was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British as a result of colonization, with the first recorded match dating back to 1832. The Colombo Cricket Club was formed in 1832 and matches began to be played in November 1832. By the 1880s, the Ceylon national cricket team was formed, which began playing first-class cricket by the 1920s.

Ceylon played their first first-class match against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at the Nomads Ground, Victoria Park, Colombo, in 1926–27, and lost the match by an innings. The team's first win came against Patiala at the Dhruve Pandove Stadium in 1932–33. First-class cricket in Ceylon became restricted to games against visiting teams, notably the English and Australian teams, who used Ceylon as a stopover on the long voyage to each other's country. Douglas Jardine's infamous "bodyline team" also visited Ceylon in 1932–33.

The Indian cricket team visited Ceylon in April 1945 and played one first-class match at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. The match was drawn because of bad weather. India were captained by Vijay Merchant and included notable players such as Mushtaq Ali, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare, and Rusi Modi.

The West Indies visited Ceylon in February 1949 and played two first-class matches against the home side. The West Indies won the first match and the second match was drawn. Pakistan visited the country in August 1949 to play two first-class matches. Captained by Mohammad Saeed, Pakistan won both the matches despite some good performances by the Ceylon players.

Test and ODI Era

The Ceylon national cricket team achieved the Associate Member status of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1965. After the country was renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, the national team first competed in top-level international cricket during the 1975 Cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka registered their first ODI win against India on 16 June 1979.

Sri Lanka was awarded Test status on 21 July 1981 and became the 8th Test-playing nation. They played their first Test match against England at the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, on 17 February 1982. Bandula Warnapura was the captain of Sri Lanka. England won the match by 7 wickets. Sri Lanka had to wait until 6 September 1985 to record their first Test win. They beat India in the second Test match of the series by 149 runs at the PSS Oval, Colombo.

The first edition of the Asia Cup was held in April 1984, with the participation of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was led by Duleep Mendis. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan but lost to India, finishing second in the tournament. Sri Lanka was the host for the second Asia Cup edition in 1986. With a victory over Pakistan in the final, Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup for the first time.

World Champions

Sri Lanka had to wait for more than 7 years for their next series victory, which came against New Zealand in December 1992. Sri Lanka won the 2-Test series 1–0. This was immediately followed by a 1-wicket victory over England in the only Test of the series. Two years later, on 15 March 1995, Sri Lanka won their first overseas Test match, under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga, against New Zealand, when the former beat the home team by 241 runs in Napier. This win also resulted in Sri Lanka’s first overseas Test series victory, 1–0.

The 1996 Cricket World Cup was co-hosted by India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan team was led by Arjuna Ranatunga and was considered rank outsiders for the title. Australia and the West Indies forfeited their group matches against Sri Lanka due to safety concerns in Sri Lanka, so Sri Lanka received walkovers for both the matches. As a result of this decision, Sri Lanka automatically qualified for the quarter-finals even before playing a game. In the last group match against Kenya, Sri Lanka made the highest team total of that time by scoring 398/5. Aravinda de Silva top-scored in the match with 145 runs, which is the highest score by a Sri Lankan player in the World Cup.

In the first quarter-final, Sri Lanka played with England, where Sanath Jayasuriya trashed the English bowlers with his quick-fire 82 runs off just 44 balls. Sri Lanka won the match by 5 wickets and progressed through to their first semi-final in a World Cup. Sri Lanka met India in the semi-final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. As India were on the verge of losing the game, the fans in the stands got aggressive and began to throw bottles and other materials onto the ground. The match could not be continued further. The umpires held a discussion with both the teams and decided to award the match to Sri Lanka, who advanced to their first final in a World Cup.

The final was played between Sri Lanks and Australia at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Chasing 242, Sri Lanka overcame a nervous start, where they lost both openers early, to win the final within 45 overs. Sri Lankan batting sensation Aravinda de Silva played a match-winning knock of 107 and was assisted ably by fellow veterans Asanka Gurusinha and captain Ranatunga. He also picked up 3 wickets for 42 runs. De Silva was adjudged the Player of the Match for his brilliant performance in the final. Sanath Jayasuriya was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.

Sri Lanka's playing style throughout that tournament revolutionized ODI cricket. It was characterized by the highly aggressive batting of their openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana in the first 15 overs of the innings. The duo consistently took advantage of the fielding restrictions imposed during that period. This strategy has since become a hallmark of ODI cricket.

Sustained Success in Multi-nation Tournaments

On 14 June 2000, Sri Lanka played their 100th Test match against Pakistan at the SSC Ground, Colombo, under the leadership of Sanath Jayasuriya. They also won the 2001-02 Asian Test Championship, defeating Pakistan in the final by an innings and 175 runs.

The 2003 Cricket World Cup was held on the African continent, where South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya co-hosted the tournament. Sanath Jayasuriya was the captain of the Sri Lanka team. This tournament saw the emergence of great players like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, and Tillakaratne Dilshan. After the semi-final loss against Australia, Aravinda de Silva retired from international cricket, leading to a big hole in the team’s batting line-up. He ended his career as Sri Lanka's greatest batsman and the longest-serving player in international cricket of his time, with a career that stretched nearly two decades.

Sri Lanka won their second and third Asia Cup titles in 2004 and 2008 respectively. They also finished runners-up in the 2007 World Cup and the 2009 T20 World Cup. Mahela Jayawardena was the Sri Lankan captain for both the tournaments. Sri Lanka lost two more finals: the 2011 World Cup against India and the 2012 T20 World Cup against the West Indies at home. Kumar Sangakkara captained the side in both these tournaments.

The 2014 Asia Cup was held in Bangladesh, with the participation of four Test-playing nations and Associate Member Afghanistan. After a disastrous previous Asia Cup in 2012, Sri Lanka went into the tournament with several bilateral ODI series wins under their belt. Angelo Mathews captained the Sri Lankan team. Lahiru Thirimanne finished as the highest run scorer of the tournament and won the Player of the Tournament award. This was Sri Lanka’s 5th Asia Cup title.

As the runners-up of the two of the previous three T20 World Cups, Sri Lanka went into the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 under the captaincy of Dinesh Chandimal. Sri Lankan opener Kusal Perera reminded everyone of the legendary batsman Sanath Jayasuriya with his aggressive shots. The final was played between Sri Lanka and India. India was the only unbeaten team heading into the final. Kumar Sangakkara, playing in his last T20 international match, guided Sri Lanka to victory and was adjudged the Player of the Match. After all the losses faced in 4 major World Cups, Sri Lanka finally became World Champions again. With this match, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara retired from twenty20 internationals.

Slump in All Formats

After the retirement of the three legends (Sangakkara, Mahela, and Dilshan), the Sri Lankan strength declined considerably. Sri Lanka showed a clear decline in all three formats of the game. In the year 2017, Sri Lanka played 13 Tests, 29 ODIs, and 15 T20Is. In these 13 Tests, Sri Lanka won only 4 matches and lost 7. In 29 ODIs, Sri Lanka only won 5 games and lost 23, including three 5-0 whitewashes. In 15 T20Is, they won 5 matches and lost 10. The year 2017 is highlighted as a black mark in the history of Sri Lankan cricket across all three formats, especially in the ODI format.

The slide continued as the team struggled for consistency and results in international matches. Sri Lanka were knocked out of the 2016 Asia Cup, the 2016 T20 World Cup, the 2017 Champions Trophy, the 2018 Asia Cup, and most recently the 2019 World Cup, in the group stage itself.

Cricket Match Schedule

Find out all about the biggest international series and cricket match fixtures of the Sri Lanka cricket team.

More Series Coming Soon

Tournament Records

World Cup

Year Position
1975 Group stage
1979 Group stage
1983 Group stage
1987 Group stage
1992 Group stage
1996 Champions
1999 Group stage
2003 Semi-finalists
2007 Runners-up
2011 Runners-up
2015 Quarter-finalists
2019 Group stage

T20 World Cup

Year Position
2007 Super 8s
2009 Runners-up
>2010 Semi-finalists
2012 Runners-up
2014 Champions
2016 Super 10s

Champions Trophy

Year Position
1998 Semi-finalists
2000 Quarter-finalists
2002 Champions
2004 Group stage
2006 Group stage
2009 Group stage
2013 Semi-finalists
2017 Group stage

Asia Cup

Year Position
1984 Runners-up
>1986 Champions
1988 Runners-up
1990-91 Runners-up
1995 Runners-up
1997 Champions
2000 Runners-up
2004 Champions
2008 Champions
2010 Runners-up
2012 Group stage
2014 Champions
2016 Group stage
2018 Group stage

Trophy Honors

World Cup

Winner: 1996

Champions Trophy

Winner : 2002 (joint-winners)

T20 World Cup

Winners: 2014

Asia Cup

Winners (5 times): 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008, 2014

Fantasy Cricket

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Cricket Match Statistics

Test

Opponent Matches Won Lost Drawn Tied
Australia 31 4 19 8 0
Bangladesh 20 16 1 3 0
England 36 8 17 11 0
India 44 7 20 17 0
New Zealand 36 9 16 11 0
Pakistan 53 16 19 18 0
South Africa 31 9 16 6 0
West Indies 20 9 4 7 0
Zimbabwe 20 14 0 6 0
Total 293 92 113 88 0
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s
Kumar Sangakkara 134 12400 57.4 319 38
Mahela Jayawardene 149 11814 49.84 374 34
Sanath Jayasuriya 110 6973 40.07 340 14
Arvinda de Silva 93 6361 42.97 267 20
Angelo Mathews 88 6194 45.54 200* 11
Marvan Atapattu 90 5502 39.02 249 16
Tillakratne Dilshan 87 5492 40.98 193 16
Thilan Samaraweera 81 5462 48.76 231 14
Arjuna Ranatunga 93 5105 35.69 135* 4
Dimuth Karunaratne 68 4657 36.66 196 10
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 10W/5W
Muttiah Muralitharan 132 795 22.67 9/51 22/67
Rangana Herath 93 433 28.07 9/127 9/34
Chaminda Vaas 111 355 29.58 7/71 2/12
Dilruwan Perera 43 161 35.9 6/32 2/8
Suranga Lakmal 62 151 37.62 5/54 0/3
Lasith Malinga 30 101 33.15 5/50 0/3
Dilhara Fernando 40 100 37.84 5/42 0/3
Sanath Jayasuriya 110 98 34.34 5/34 0/2
Pramodya Wickramasinghe 40 85 41.87 6/60 0/3
Dhammika Prasad 25 75 35.97 5/50 0/1

ODIs

Opponent Matches Won Lost Tied No Result
Afghanistan 4 3 1 0 0
Australia 97 32 61 0 4
Bangladesh 48 39 7 0 2
England 75 36 36 1 2
India 159 56 91 1 11
Ireland 4 4 0 0 0
New Zealand 99 41 49 1 8
Pakistan 155 58 92 1 4
South Africa 77 31 44 1 1
West Indies 60 29 28 0 3
Zimbabwe 57 44 11 0 2
Total 835 373 420 5 37
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s
Kumar Sangakkara 397 13975 41.96 169 25
Sanath Jayasuriya 441 13364 32.51 189 28
Mahela Jayawardene 443 12381 33.01 144 18
Tillakratne Dilshan 330 10290 39.27 161* 22
Arvinda de Silva 308 9284 34.9 145 11
Marvan Atapattu 268 8529 37.57 132* 11
Arjuna Ranatunga 269 7456 35.84 131* 4
Upul Tharanga 234 6941 33.85 174* 15
Angelo Mathews 217 5830 41.94 139* 3
Roshan Mahanama 213 5162 29.49 119* 4
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 5W/4W
Muttiah Muralitharan 343 523 23.07 7/30 10/15
Chaminda Vaas 321 399 27.45 8/19 4/9
Lasith Malinga 226 338 28.87 6/38 8/11
Sanath Jayasuriya 441 320 36.67 6/29 4/8
Nuwan Kulasekara 184 199 33.92 5/22 1/4
Dilhara Fernando 146 183 30.66 6/27 1/2
Thisara Perera 164 172 32.95 6/44 4/5
Ajantha Mendis 87 152 21.86 6/13 3/7
Upul Chandana 147 151 31.9 5/61 1/4
Kumar Dharmasena 141 138 36.21 4/37 0/1

T20Is

Opponent Matches Won Lost No Result
Afghanistan 1 1 0 0
Australia 16 8 8 0
Bangladesh 11 7 4 0
England 9 4 5 0
India 19 5 13 1
Ireland 1 1 0 0
Pakistan 21 8 13 0
New Zealand 19 8 10 1
South Africa 13 5 8 0
West Indies 10 6 4 0
Zimbabwe 3 3 0 0
Total 123 55 64 2
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s/50s
Tillakratne Dilshan 80 1889 28.19 104* 1/13
Mahela Jayawardene 55 1493 31.76 100 1/9
Kumar Sangakkara 56 1382 31.4 78 0/8
Kusal Perera 47 1293 28.1 84 0/12
Angelo Mathews 75 1119 26.64 81* 0/5
Thisara Perera 77 1044 22.21 58 0/2
Dinesh Chandimal 54 800 18.6 58 0/4
Chamara Kapugedera 43 703 22.67 50 0/1
Sanath Jayasuriya 31 629 23.29 88 0/4
Kusal Mendis 26 484 18.61 79 0/5
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 5W/4W
Lasith Malinga 84 107 20.79 5/6 2/1
Ajantha Mendis 39 66 14.42 6/8 2/3
Nuwan Kulasekara 58 66 23.18 4/31 0/2
Thisara Perera 77 45 34.15 3/24 0/0
Angelo Mathews 75 38 31.07 3/16 0/0
Sachitra Senanayake 24 25 21.96 4/46 0/1
Isuru Udana 30 24 31.91 3/11 0/0
Akila Dananjaya 22 22 28.18 3/36 0/0
Sanath Jayasuriya 31 19 24 3/21 0/0
Rangana Herath 17 18 20.72 5/3 1/0

Current Squad

Dimuth
Karunaratne

Avishka
Fernando

Oshado
Fernando

Lahiru
Thirimanne

Danushka
Gunathilaka

Dinesh
Chandimal

Kusal
Mendis

Bhanuka
Rajapaksa

Kusal
Perera

Niroshan
Dickwella

Minod
Bhanuka

Angelo
Matthews

Dhananjaya
de
Silva

Wanidu
Hasaranga

Ramesh
Mendis

Thisara
Perera

Isuru
Udana

Lakshan
Sandakan

Dilruwan
Perera

Lasith
Embuldeniya

Suranga
Lakmal

Nuwan
Pradeep

Vishwa
Fernando

Kasun
Rajitha

Asitha
Fernando

Lahiru
Kumara